Artist Profiles: The “Rustavi” Company

Rustavi Choir

The “Rustavi” Company was founded in 1968. Art of “Rustavi” has roots in the past of Georgia’s folk music and folk performing arts. It is the product of Georgia’s musical culture, the source of its creative force. “Rustavi” incorporates representatives from different parts of Georgia; the timbre of each singer’s voice bears a specific national coloring. The members of the company infuse its repertory the unique vocal traditions of their native parts as well as with their songs and the deep knowledge of their performing style.

“Rustavi’s” performances are fine evidence that the Georgian people have long mastered the peculiarities of vocal art. This enabled them to develop their own style of execution, which is an outstanding phenomenon from the point of intoning, vocalization and virtuoso singing technique. In different corners of Georgia there have been preserved along with purely vocal music remarkable songs performed to the accompaniment of folk instruments. “Rustavi” has also mastered this type of folk music. Members of the company play different folk musical instruments (Chuniri, Chiboni, Changi, Panduri, Changuri, Salamuri, Duduki) which extends its repertory and amplifies performing gamut.

Anzor Erkomaishvili, Art Director of the “Rustavi” Company and the inspirer and organizer of this arduous work, has a special talent for developing the musical traditions which the Erkomaishvili family had nurtured for ages. He represents the seventh generation of this remarkable dynasty of musicians. From his forbears Anzor Erkomaishvili has inherited a profound knowledge of folk music literature and performing traditions, the culture of Georgian folk music and the endeavor to preserve this music. A. Erkomaishvili does not only perform and popularize Georgian folk songs and poesieshe is also a researcher with a deep theoretical knowledge, the author of many interesting papers and the compiler of a collection of Georgian folk songs.

Otar Kelaptrishvili plays salamuri

In mastering instrument folk music no little initiative was shown by the soloist and director of the Company’s instrumental group Omar Kelaptrishili, Honored Artist of Georgia, and a salamuri (shepherd’s flute) virtuoso from childhood. Omar Kelaptrishvili has elevated the art of playing the salamuri to the heights of performing mastery and has acquainted many countries with Georgian pastoral and mountain melodies.

The instrumental trio “Rustavi” under O. Kelaptrishvili attracts large audiences in Georgian and beyond its borders. Fridon Sulaberidze, People Artist of Georgia who heads “Rustavi’s” choreography ensemble, contributes immeasurably to its professional development by perfecting its performing style and dancing technique. His enthusiastic nature enables him to transmit his mastership in all its brillianceunder his guidance the dancers strive to achieve the unique eurhythmical movements of the folk dance. He aims at restoring and developing the ancient elements of Georgian folk dance and the dances he has produced for the stage are noted for their masterly performing technique. In his duet with Iamze Dolaberidze, People Artist of Georgia, F. Sulaberidze enchants the audience by his exclusive professionalism, genuine artistry and plasticity. Truly unique is “Kartuli” (“Georgian Dance”) which is performed by the two artists with virtuoso mastership and artistic inspiration.

Iamze Dolaberidze designs the costumes for the “Rustavi” ensemble. Her work shows perfect taste, simplicity and profound knowledge of national style. The “Rustavi” Company is constantly on tour. The geography of its travels across the country is truly astonishing. Its concerts abroad are an invariable success. Wherever it has performed, and this includes, US and Canada, France and Spain, Germany and Belgium , Britain and Poland, Jordan, Morocco, Algeria and Guinea, Switzerland and Luxembourg, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Finland, Netherlands, the huge impact of Georgian folk songs and dances on the audience was universal.


Georgian Voices (Nonesuch, 1989)

Author: Angel Romero

Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music music for many years. He founded the websites and Angel produced several TV specials for Metropolis (TVE) and co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for Televisión Española (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World.


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